With all the preparations that go into your special day, it’s always good to take a moment to reflect on just what your Quinceanera really means. More than just an extraordinary rite of passage from girlhood to adult, the blessing you’ll receive, either at your Quinceanera Mass or by the priest at another times, is of great significance. So let’s take a moment to set aside the decorative details and consider the spiritual aspects of the beautiful celebration you’re about to enjoy.
The Quinceañera Mass vs. a Quinceanera Blessing
You don’t need to schedule a full Mass to receive the Bendición de la Quinceañera. The ritual can take place either as a blessing at the end of a regularly scheduled Mass, or perhaps at a special time set aside just for you and your family.
The priest or deacon will bestow this special blessing in the presence of your parents and godparents, and perhaps your Quinceanera court of honor, but probably without the formal procession. They would just be with you as supportive friends.
Regarding Quinceañera Attire
If you choose to have a blessing only, be sure to check with your church or parish about their requirements and preferences for what you wear. If you’re having a grand reception afterward, you might be allowed to wear your special Quinceanera dress. Or you might be asked to dress more simply for the blessing and then you can change into your fancy dress for the party.
Even if you’re having a special Quinceanera Mass, you’ll need to check for clothing restrictions. For instance, some churches or parishes don’t allow the young men in your court to wear tuxedos, though they can dress in other formal attire.
Why the Bendición de la Quinceañera is Included in the Book of Blessings
The Book of Blessings—De Benedictionibus—provides special blessings for people, places, and things for a variety of occasions and circumstances. Some of these include the blessing of a married couple or a family, and special blessings for sons, daughters, and other children.
Why an Approved Order of Blessing is Necessary
The traditional blessing that was part of the religion of Latinos and that was common in some countries of Central and South America was altered in the United States. It had become an unofficial “liturgical rite.” This created some problems because all liturgy must be approved and confirmed by the full body of U.S. Bishops as well as receive recognition by the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship.
The reason why the ceremony—which was formally approved in the U.S. in 2007—needed stricter guidelines and norms because some celebrants created spontaneous prayers and rituals of their own.
Your Parents’ Vision of the Quinceanera Blessing
Before approaching your parish or Church, your parents will have recognized that you’ve shown yourself capable of handling additional responsibilities and they want you to have a special blessing to help you carry out those tasks.
Many parents view the Quinceanera Mass as a formal way to thank God for the blessing of having you as their daughter. They may also ask for guidance for themselves as they help you enter adulthood.
The Role of your Extended Family
Most of the time you’ll celebrate your Quinceanera Mass with your grandparents and godparents, aunts and uncles and often cousins, especially if they’re in your Court of Honor.
Other couples may come to support you—perhaps your Esponsores—and may carry the personal religious articles which are blessed before being presented to you.
Some Parishes Require a Period of Preparation
You and your court—whether 7 couples or just 7 attendants—may be asked to participate in a one-day retreat or perhaps some other activities and prayers. These meetings will most likely focus on the contribution of women to society and also how adult females can become active participants in parish life. You may also be asked to take a more active role in various ministries if you haven’t done so already.
Your Quinceanera can Strengthen Your Faith
Unfortunately society today has a great deal of influence when it comes to negative things like gangs, drug and alcohol abuse, and irresponsible behavior including sexual conduct. This is precisely what makes the celebration of a Quince a crucial time in a young woman’s life.
Adults have the responsibility to pass down their faith, and the Church can help by using your Quinceanera preparation to encourage you about women’s positive roles both in society and in the Catholic Church.
Why the Rite is Just for Young Ladies
According to tradition, the Bendición de la Quinceañera has always been a celebration for young Hispanic women specifically because it relates to the role of women in the Church, family, and society. Also, at one time, the Quince was a community affair. All the 15-year-old girls in the community were presented as ready for marriage, and sometimes a dowry of sorts was offered by any young gentlemen looking for a future bride.
It’s one case if fraternal twins—male and female—ask to be honored at the same time on their 15th birthday, but usually, the young man is given some other honor on that day. And because of the emphasis on the attributes of the Virgin Mary, it would seem reasonably obvious why there has never been a formal tradition for the inclusion of 15-year-old boys in the rite, other than to assist as part of the Corte de Honor or as the Quinceanera’s escort for the ceremony and reception.
Your New Role in your World
It’s always been a tradition in the Hispanic community—as it is in some other cultures like Jewish families—that the women are the ones who keep and hand down the faith, organize feast days, celebrate rituals and offer prayers.
- The mother makes the home a domestic church via the altarcito.
- Hispanic women are the primary evangelizers and teachers.
- The Abuelita—the grandmother—is honored for these very reasons.
- Your Quince Años Blessing publicly acknowledges your readiness—and willingness—to take your place in your family, your community, and your world!
May Your Preparations be Blessed!
We hope this look into the spiritual side of your Quinceanera adds a bit of color and gives you a deeper perspective as you prepare for this wonderful day.
Now—back to work! You’ve got a lot of planning to do!
To read all about how your Quinceanera can actually change your world, click here to check out Part 2 of this article: Exploring your Quinceanera Part 2: A Chance to Change your World